Abdullah, Ahmadzai seem heading for a runoff
KABUL (Pajhwok): The Afghan election commission (IEC) on Sunday announced 50 percent results from the April 5 presidential race, showing Abdullah Abdullah’s lead has slightly increased over his main rival Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai, but both seem to be heading for a runoff next month.
Abdullah, a former foreign minister in President Hamid Karzai’s previous term, collected 44.4 percent (1536133) of the votes tallied and Ashraf Ghani bagged 33.2 percent (1146251), with Zalmai Rassoul trailing at 10.4 percent (357930) votes in the third position.
IEC chief Ahmad Yusuf Nuristani told reporters in Kabul the remaining five candidates in a whole had received 12 percent of the votes counted.
Abdul Rab Rassoul Sayyaf secured seven percent (241014), Eng. Gutbuddin Hilal 2.7 percent (94556), Mohammad Shafiq Gul Agha Sherzai 1.6 percent (55778), Daud Sultanzoy 0.5 percent (16907) and Hidayat Amin Arsala 8368 votes.
Nuristani said a third batch of the preliminary results would be announced soon.
On Saturday, IEC spokesman Noor Mohammad Noor told reporters he would not rule out the possibility of the election going to a second round between the two top-rated presidential candidates.
He said the vote tallying process was on track and only 30 percent work needed to announce the preliminary results.
Noor said if the election went into a second round stage, the election commission might not be able to hold it in the stipulated time of two weeks after the final results due until May 14.
Under the Afghan Constitution, a presidential candidate must bag 50 plus one percent votes to emerge the winner, and a run-off between two top-rated runners shall take place within two weeks after the final results.
Independent Electoral Complaints Commission spokesman Nader Muhseni told Pajhwok Afghan News they had so far assessed 400 complaints regarding fraud and other irregularities in 17 provinces.
He said fraud incidents classed as “Priority-A” complaints could impact the results, saying a large number of photos, videos and other materials could be seen shared on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter.
The winner will replace President Karzai, who is in office since the 2001 US-led invasion ousted the Taliban, and whose relations with Washington have sharply deteriorated for his refusal to sign the security agreement.
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